The ARCA Racing Series made it’s way to Iowa Speedway for the 12th round of the 2018 schedule on Saturday, and fresh off his second victory of the year at Chicagoland Speedway was Michael Self in the No. 55 Sinclair Oil Toyota. Making his 10th start at the Newton, Iowa based short track, Self was enthusiastic about his chances.

Self re-joined 10-time series champion Frank Kimmel for the event, with Kimmel serving as crew chief. The duo prepared a plan early in the day, based off extensive knowledge and numerous victories at the track between the two. Kimmel and Self chose to disregard the timing chart, and focus on the long-run feel of the racecar, knowing the conditions would change dramatically for the nighttime race. At the conclusion of practice, Self was just ninth-fastest, but felt confident with how the car was set up for the race.

“I knew we had to be really loose in the sunlight, because the track just tightens up so much at night,” said Self. “Every time I’ve race here the track has gotten tighter and tighter as the sun sets, so even though we were really loose and a bit uncomfortable in practice, I was content with where we were at.” Self had a strong qualifying effort and rolled off the grid in the third position.

Self was aggressive on the start, making it three-wide to move into the second position on Lap 1 before looking under Sheldon Creed for the lead at Lap 15. With Riley Herbst in the mix as well, the trio put on a great battle for the top spot. Eventually, the Park City, Utah native would pull away and was out to a lead of over three seconds before the first caution of the night flew at Lap 61 and things headed south for the No. 55 machine.

Another quick caution would set up a restart that resulted in contact with Herbst and some damage to the nose of the No. 55 Toyota. Shortly thereafter, he would hit pit road with radiator damage and end his night with a disappointing 18th-place result.

“Just a really disappointing ending to what started out as a great night,” the 27-year-old driver said. “We dominated that first run and had an awesome car that was getting better as the sun continued to go down. We lost a few spots on our pit stop, and then had to restart on the bottom which wasn’t ideal and lost a few more spots, then we got tangled up with the 18 (Herbst) which felt like a product of really hard racing, and unfortunately we put a hole in the radiator and that was it for our night.”

“I hate it for Frank Kimmel and the guys on the No. 55 Sinclair Oil car. They deserved a win for the great car they gave me. I’m really disappointed in myself because two of my 10 starts started out as win-contender nights, but were ruined because of situations that may have been avoided if I had been more patient.”

Self won’t make his next ARCA start until September at Lucas Oil Raceway.

“I’ve got a couple months until my next start unfortunately, but I’ll be ready to go again and be smarter and better when we get to Lucas Oil.”